5 Plant-Based Food Swaps Worth Trying For The Planet – And You

You say red tomato, we say orange tomato – plus four more hacks for a greener diet.

We all know a veggie diet is better for the planet than eating meat, but how else can you make sure the food you eat isn’t harming the planet?

This is the question behind Knorr’s Eat for Good campaign, which features its ‘Future 50 Food swaps’ – foods we should eat more because they’re naturally nutritious, have a lower impact on our planet than animal-based foods, and can safeguard the future of our food.

Here are five easy swaps to make – as well as some suggested recipes to go with them.

1. Swap red tomatoes for orange tomatoes

Orange tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic than their red relatives, and also contain up to twice as much vitamin A and folate (B vitamin), say the experts at the Future 50 Food campaign. Eating less common varieties of vegetables, such as orange tomatoes, drives demand and therefore increases the variety of types of crops grown, which, in turn, makes the food system more resilient.

2. Swap white rice for quinoa

Grains are easier on the environment as they take less resource to grow and can emit less greenhouse gases while providing more nutrients than white rice. Quinoa requires only a little water, has a high yield and is a plant-based complete protein, the campaign says. It’s gluten-free and contains a good balance of protein, fat, minerals and vitamins.

3. Swap lettuce for beet greens

The leafy green part of the beetroot is the most nutritious part of the plant, say the Future 50 Foods team, yet is often overlooked and thrown away. “It has a flavour profile similar to that of Swiss chard and is rich in vitamins K and A,” they say. Beet greens contain as much iron as spinach and contain lutein, which is great for eye health. They thrive in cooler conditions, too, and are tolerant of frost and grow quickly.

4. Swap beef for lentils

This is a more obvious one – veggies over meat. But they’re a good substitute in curries, particularly. Lentils require little water to grow and have a carbon footprint 43 times lower than that of beef. They’re also packed with protein, fibre and carbohydrates. Puy lentils keep their shape and texture after cooking and are often served with fish or roasted vegetables. Red and yellow lentils dissolve into a rich purée and are delicious mixed into stews, curries and soups.

5. Swap potatoes for a sweet potato

By doing so, you’ll get three times more vitamin C and calcium than other potato varieties. Cilembu sweet potatoes have a sweet, honey-like flavour and are native to Indonesia. Eating more varieties of similar foods helps make the food system more resilient while providing more nutrients.